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Lights, camera, live-action: BAM screens play in real-time • Brooklyn Paper

Lights, camera, live-action: BAM screens play in real-time

Bam! Jay Scheib’s “Platonov, or The Disinherited” will be staged and filmed live from an art space in Manhattan and screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Photo by Jim Carmody

Forget NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live.”

A daring director is taking the same concept as the recent hit TV event — filming and screening a live theater production — but applying it to a much more challenging work: Anton Chekhov’s 1878 play “Platanov.” Each performance will be screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as it is staged, shot, and edited in real-time from a theater in Manhattan on Jan. 9, 16, and 23.

“I was really interested in taking some of the cultural capital of the movies — some of our understands of how events are portrayed in movies — and bringing that onstage,” said director Jay Scheib, who won an Obie award for his 2012 production “World of Wires,” and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011.

The live event will take eight actors, six designers and technicians, and one single editor to pull off. The team is set to film and edit at the Kitchen, an experimental arts space in Chelsea, with two cameras and a five-second delay — less time than the NBA has to edit during games, Scheib said.

“Without them, I would have no chance,” Scheib said of his collaborators. “This has a lot of moving parts.”

But Scheib will not be out of his depth. He has already directed about six other live cinema productions, including Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s “This Place is a Desert.” The ambitious artist said he decided to tackle Chekhov’s unfinished “Platanov” — which follows an embittered teacher and a band of anti-heroes who use vodka and sex to cope with the disappointment of life — because it is one of the Russian author’s longest and unfinished plays.

“I have this passion for the early works of major writers,” he said.

Scheib, a professor for music and theater arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has also produced several contemporary operas and musicals — including “punk songspiel” “Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s 20th Century,” and Evan Ziporyn’s opera, “A House in Bali.” But despite his lengthy theater resume, Scheib says his true love is the big screen.

“I have a huge passion for the cinema,” Scheib said. “I grew up with it, like all of us.”

“Platonov, or The Disinherited” at BAM Rose Cinemas [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Green, (718) 636–4100, www.bam.org]. Jan. 9, 16, and 23 at 8 pm. $7–$13.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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